“The Transcript Is Auto Generated And May Contain Spelling And Grammar Errors”
Tyler Jorgenson 0:01
You’re listening to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. This show was created for entrepreneurs, business owners, marketers and dreamers who want to learn from the experts of today and drastically shortcut their own success to build a business that supports their dream lifestyle. Since 2011, Tyler Jorgensen has been interviewing business thought leaders from around the world a serial entrepreneur himself. Tyler also shares his personal insights into what’s working in business today. Welcome to biz Ninja, entrepreneur radio. Welcome out to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. I’m your host, Tyler Jorgensen and today I have the co founder and chief strategy officer of grunt style LLC. You’ve probably seen their products and even ordered from their site, but Welcome to the show. Tim Jensen.
Tim Jensen 0:54
I’m pleased to be with you my friend and it’s a nice lovely day here in San Antonio. The rain has Come in the heat is gone. So it’s lovely day here.
Tyler Jorgenson 1:04
That’s nice. The entire world is on fire here in Southern California. So I’m sure that Yeah, I’m with you. I’m glad that the weather is good. Luckily, wherever people are tuning in from whenever they’re listening around the world, hopefully you’ve got a glorious, wonderful day. So grunt style is more than just an apparel company. But tell us a little bit about what grunt style is, and and who you sell to.
Tim Jensen 1:28
Absolutely. So grid style is a veteran owned and operated business and we were established in 2009. And we like to call ourselves a lifestyle brand that focuses in military and patriotic peril, right. So prime military prime country, the beauty about our product is like you don’t have to be a veteran to wear it. But you have to have love of country.
Tyler Jorgenson 1:46
There you go. So I noticed you got the American flag. They’re flying behind it. And it absolutely is very much a patriotic and love of country brand. I think it’s really cool. You guys have built some really neat stuff. How did it Get started, like, why did you decide to launch an apparel brand?
Tim Jensen 2:03
Yeah, I mean, it’s a great question. So Daniel Elric, the founder of the business, former drill sergeant in the army, and he was coming on the end of his enlistment and wanted to take those values that have been instilled into all of us military members, and take that into the civilian world and do it in a way that is going to show pride and self pride military pride country and, you know, Hvis, the brand was born. Dan had bought thermal printers was making the product in the basement of his house was, in his off periods was driving around from base to base selling on kiosks and different installation stores. And, you know, it wasn’t until 2013 that Daniel really came to the decision like if this brand is really going to take off, it’s really going to be what it needs to be and follow the vision of what it could be. It really comes down to building great teams. And that’s really where the company started expanding 2013 through 2015 was a massive of growth period for the business. We went from five employees to 100 employees within two Holy cow. And we started chewing up market space inside of the veteran community. And it’s been absolutely an incredible ride. I’ve been with the company for eight years. And to see where the brand is today and the influences that is making within the veteran in the patriotic community is really been a blessing taking the those characteristics as values that we have all learned in military and applying them through our products, some cheeky, some patriotic, a lot of it just really is resonating in a way that it is a way to express yourself in today’s world, right? It’s the easiest way of doing so. But at the end of the day, you know, if you look at grunt style, what grunt style really is, we’re not an apparel company. We’re a company that sells pride. And it’s the pride that we have for our country at the end. You know, we live in the greatest country of human existence going back to the dawn of man, that is undeniable. And you know, we like to celebrate that here in Grand style. Our mission is to no celebrate defend the constitution in it. states and getting everybody really amped up and celebrating, right? Because that one document has changed the world. And that was, what, 245 years ago. And here we are enjoying our freedoms, it is challenging every day. Sure, we see what’s happening across the country. But you know, it is exciting to see, in many ways that the spirit of America in many ways still exists. And that is tough. This things are coming down the way at us that it’s up to us, the citizens of this country to continue to push the ideas and the values of freedom forward.
Tyler Jorgenson 4:35
Absolutely. So I love that, you know, vet owned, but you’re not just a apparel company, really. You’re selling pride in that. And your mission is amazing. As you guys got started, right. So you came on pretty early on. And when was the first moment where you’re like, Okay, we have something special here. This is we’re not just another apparel company like this is going to go somewhere. You know,
Tim Jensen 4:56
I really try to think about that a lot. Because we’ve had So many unique events that has happened throughout the company over the years. And I really don’t know if there’s just that one. But the one that really sticks out the most in my mind is when the Dallas five the police officers that were gunned down, five of them. And the company got together. Well, we were actually the fop reached out to us and put this bunch together and we said, Absolutely, we support our lungs for the first responders and law enforcement. And we put that product up and with the intent of donating the portions of the profits to these families. And before you know it, we ended up writing a check in the amount of $205,000 Wow, between the four families. So something is small and unique in the business sense like you know, this is the right thing to do. Let’s put this product have turned into something amazing. And I really put that back into the audience and our fans absolutely took and they ran with and you know from that point on in my in my mind and you You know, everybody will have a different opinion of what that moment was. But you know, I think that was one of the really bigger moments of the brand. And yeah,
Tyler Jorgenson 6:07
that makes sense. Like cuz that’s that’s when you probably knew, hey, this is more than apparel but more than just a brand it’s a an ability to serve an ability to help help our fellow citizens. And
Tim Jensen 6:19
at the end of the day, we’re movement, right? Yeah.
It’s once in a generation that you see a brand like run style come onto the scene. It’s got a massive audience, widely engaged audience. In today’s social media and technology era, we probably have one loudest voices that are now the Nike or an Under Armour brand. Right? We’ve built that, just through authenticity and really speaking the language of our fans being where our fans are all the time, and really, just making an exciting brand, something that, you know, what I find extremely interesting is if you see two people walking in the opposite direction towards each other, and they’re both wearing grunt style and they could be on opposite sides of the street. one of two things is really going to happen. Either is going to be a head nod saying, Hey, I see you, I acknowledge you, roger that kind of a thumbs up, or you’re going to gravitate towards each other, have a bit of a conversation, maybe talk about your military experience, maybe talk about your passion and love for country, whatever it’s that conversation is, you’re going to connect, and you’re going to share a little bit of time together. And that’s really right. You know, we live in this amazing country. And we should be talking about it all the time. And I think that’s what this brand really does for our pants. It gives a a larger network, a larger voice, and creates those opportunities that we can interact with each other and share, share your experiences your stories.
Tyler Jorgenson 7:39
Awesome, very cool. What was the first You know, when you came on? And you’re, you know, Chief Strategy Officer co founder? What was the first major obstacle that you faced and how did you overcome it?
Tim Jensen 7:52
That’s probably the greatest question, Tyler. I laugh at it because I could still remember the day it happened. You know, I was at that time I was I’ve had many puzzles. within a company I’ve been I’ve been very fortunate enough that, you know, I’ve had extraordinary opportunities. And I remember as the operations manager, we’re still printing using thermal presses. We weren’t screen printing at that time. It was out on a trip and he comes back and he’s like, hey, Tim, what do you know about screen printing? I’m like, other than the, you know, Andy Warhol designs, he did the Campbell Soup and, you know, screen printing t shirts. I know nothing. He’s like, well, at two weeks, because I just spent 60 grand on screen printing equipment, and it’ll be here. I need you to wrap your head around it. I’m like, should this is challenging I’m what’s funny is that Dan and I have no business experience, right? We’ve just, you know, two grants that can just force things to work and, and that’s why I did you know, I spent every waking moment doing all the research I could screen printing going around to other screen printers in the Chicagoland area and learning, getting to understand things and once that Machine landed, we were operating. I wouldn’t say we were operating efficiently or even to a standard that i would i would accept today. But we were operating. And that was the most important part. Because if you’re, if you’re not moving forward, you’re dying as
Tyler Jorgenson 9:15
Absolutely, yeah, grow or die. Right,
Tim Jensen 9:17
exactly. And sometimes you just got to go make it work. And it might be ugly, it might be dirty, but the mission is still being accomplished, and you have time to fix things on the next iteration.
Tyler Jorgenson 9:26
Yep. I love that. And that honestly, is a big piece of advice to any of the entrepreneurs listening is if you get so stuck in being perfect or thinking that your chapter one is going to be equal to grunt Stiles chapter 74. You’re never going to get shipped. And so you’ve got to love what you said right there if you’ve got time to fix it in the next iteration, but right now you got to serve and you got to get it shipped.
Tim Jensen 9:47
Absolutely. We we operate off of a very simple idea. And General Patton used this very famous famous quote, you know, give me 80% of the plan. That’s all I need an iteration of that but if you spend All the time for perfect plan, you’ve already failed. Yep. Right? Because nothing the minute it’s like combat, right, you can establish the greatest operate of the order that you can put together. And this thing could be 500 pages thick. And it’s so detailed that everybody knows their piece. But the minute that first round a shot at you, that whole op order is now a guideline is not necessarily to be held to standard, right? And business is very much the same way. Like, you don’t know what you’re going to get involved in. You don’t know what rocks can be thrown at you really, you have an idea? Get as far as close to the idea is you possibly can through your mission planning and just execute, right because 20% you know, I can adjust with 20% I can course correct. I can be agile, right? All these different tweaks to the performance. But if I don’t, I spent all my time planning and I don’t execute on anything other than fail.
Tyler Jorgenson 10:55
Totally agree. Yeah, absolutely. I like that. You can course correct. You can be agile, you can adapt, but you have to get started. All right, this is a really, really important question. If for the rest of your life, you could only read one comic, what would it be?
Tim Jensen 11:09
One comic? Well, that one, I would have to revert back to Punisher war zone. Awesome.
Tyler Jorgenson 11:18
That wasn’t that important of a question, but it was, but it matters but it matters. And I you do have the Punisher, you know, icon there behind you. So I’m not surprised. That’s where you went. So I mean, outside of apparel, outside of, you know, really being a lifestyle brand. That is a mission and a purpose. You guys do a lot for the community. You’ve talked a little bit about how you guys helped, you know, the Dallas five and what you did there, but you guys have are even involved in some things in politics. Right. So tell us a little bit about what you guys are doing. You guys have some things coming up real soon.
Tim Jensen 11:45
Absolutely. You know, the politics is dirty, right? We all know that. It is the third rail of any conversation. You don’t talk about it in bars. You don’t talk about it in church, right? Right. And we try not to talk about it in business. We are very apolitical company, right? Because at the end of The day, there’s the saying The Color of Money has no sides, right? Yeah, of course. Right. I think Michael Jordan explained that one time years ago when he was talking about his Air Jordans. But you know, at some point there’s gonna have to be, or you’re gonna come to an impasse. And that impasse for us is, you know, things that are greatly affecting the veteran community. And right now, the biggest thing on the table, we know there’s veteran suicides that are happening, but is veteran suicide the problem or is that the exit of the problem? Right, sure, really goes back to a lot of different things. But one of the most resounding things that is impacting the veteran community today is toxic exposure. Over 3 million individuals have gone in and out of combat zones around the world, the note most notable being of Afghanistan and Iraq. But there’s 21 countries in the last 20 years that the United States have been running operations in that have been operating burn pits, and all these other toxins, American soldiers, Marines, airmen, and navy sailors. have been exposed to during these times in combat, and it’s having an incredible effect on our community. Hundreds of thousands of veterans have died from toxic exposure in the last 20 years not talked about. And it is the agent orange of our period. Right. And we’ve learned so much from that Vietnam veteran era that Agent Orange, and how has it affected those veterans? And yet, we have failed to correct that issue again, and these veterans of today are going through the same delay and denial tactics that are often coming from the VA. And, you know, so I was tuned down to this in a couple different ways burn pits. 360 is the is the group that we’ve partnered with other charitable organization that has been involved in burn pits well over 10 years, doing data collection and resources and bringing people to the conversation. And they’re the ones that have done all the heavy lifting to get a piece of legislation to the table, which we’ll be introducing next week on September 15. In the capital at the house triangle with Jon Stewart john field center job brand, Representative rulez, and a lot of other different individuals from the house. But our bill is it’s simple. Let’s remove the barriers that are causing the veterans to have the most trouble to get the health care that they need. And, you know, for that it comes down to be very simple. The research is done, everything exists. There’s plenty of information that could support the cancers of diseases, all these ailments that are affecting veterans from toxic exposure in foreign lands. That, you know, all we have to do is identify these countries identify these conflicts, allow for presumption to happen in those areas. The veteran is no longer beholden to produce the evidence that they were exposed to these things. It will be medically right.
Tyler Jorgenson 14:45
Yeah, it’s mind boggling that that’s even a barrier.
Tim Jensen 14:49
Well, it is but it isn’t right because it comes down to money. And we know this government is not one that is just going to release you know billions of dollars on situation that they’re going to have to say, Yep, we, we cause that and we’re sorry, there’s a bunch of money. We can’t fix those that have died. And, you know, for all you widows and your orphan children, we’re sorry. Right? And we know that that’s the case. Right? We saw it with the Vietnam era. You know, and I think with today, today’s society, today’s veteran, today’s youth of America, that you know, we live in a an era that we can actually change this from our community base and we have more power on our hands through social media, and different technological tools that distributed a very easy win for for the community. And the relief that it will bring to these veterans that are out there suffering is going to be massive. Like Listen, I lost my best friend, like Colonel, my xo, my command line is gone. They’ve died from toxic spills or lung cancer, brain cancer. The best friend died of stage four lung cancer identified and died within less than a year from the time I have been diagnosed with the, you know, it’s a real thing, and it’s not stop unless we get involved.
Tyler Jorgenson 16:07
So that’s some heavy stuff. So where should people go if they want to get involved in that, like, should they look up burn pits? 360. Should they go to your site? Where should they go for that?
Tim Jensen 16:16
Yeah, absolutely. So you can go to burn pits 360 dot org, that is a trove of information that would be readily available for anybody out there that has concerns that they might know somebody they might be personally affected by. to share with friends and family. You can go to grunt style.com forward slash pages forward slash burn pits dash 360. We have a whole bunch of information there. And you can also go to Crystal’s Facebook page and pinned at the top of our feed is the M tech conference that we just recently host is the military toxic exposure conference. 2020. We had guests john stewart john field, former secretary of the VA David shulkin. We’ve had some data scientists Kerry Baker The that was appellate advocacy for veterans that have been denied their health care coverage on he helped file appeal there. So it’s a vast amount of information. Because our intent, our intent with that conference was to educate them form, and then the call to action, right, because next week 15th I believe it’s next Tuesday. That’s when we’re gonna make the introduction and to have as many veterans out there, passing this word along because it could save one person’s life and if it saved one person’s life, I would consider that a success. But yeah, I have so many that have given their life to go and defend their country and to come home and die from from exposures that that the government exposed them to is ridiculous to me.
Tyler Jorgenson 17:45
Yeah, I totally agree. So I really, really encourage everyone to go get involved, pay attention that you know, check out the sites that 10 listed, and get informed because I think a lot of times there’s just people that they just don’t pay attention to what’s happening and the you know, there’s it’s easy to get Get hyped up on the, the drama online, right where there’s real problems that can be that need our attention. And so, but and so not to downplay that not to. But to pivot back to a little bit of the brand and what you guys are doing. You guys are now an icon in the industry, right? You guys are one of the big guys. What advice do you have for someone who’s getting started? Who’s in that early phase? Maybe they’re still at that hyper learning phase trying to get that first shirt shipped or printed? Or maybe they’re in a different industry, but what advice you have for someone that’s just getting started?
Tim Jensen 18:29
That’s a great question. I had somebody actually reach out to me this morning, through my Instagram page and asked me the same exact thing kind of talked about earlier in the episode here is that Yeah, listen, at the end of the day, you can have a wonderful you can have a game changing world altering vision, but you will never be able to get it done. Ever, ever, ever, ever. Unless you surround yourself with people smarter than you that can identify and cling to that vision and drive it all the way home. You will never do it by yourself. Isn’t it There’s no reality in which that exists. You know, surrounding yourself with great people that identify your mission, have the same values of what you’re trying to accomplish. That is your accelerant is going to get you to the stage that you can start playing and taking whatever it is if you’re selling projects, products, if it’s on widgets, if you’re selling technology, if you’re selling consultation, right, all of those things are going to, you know, fund whatever it is that your your companies explore. If it’s, you know, something altruistic, fantastic. If it’s something that this happens in your community mazing you know, you just want to be a successful business person. Hey, that’s cool, too. But remember that your vision can never be done without the help of the team. And they will never actualize itself.
Tyler Jorgenson 19:47
Awesome. So when you’re building that team, how important is it to have a shared like a mission statement or a vision for the company?
Tim Jensen 19:54
No, it’s absolutely pivotal because that’s gonna be the thing that really attracts all the talent right? You know, a good mission, a good vision, particular values, it’s extremely important, like for us are our values contributes to our culture or culture contributes to our brand. If we don’t have an internal culture, then what the hell is it that we’re trying to do?
Tyler Jorgenson 20:17
Tim Jensen 20:18
And our, our internal values are very simple comes down to three, three things, mission first, work as a team, have great attitude to win. And if you could do all if you could do all three of those things simultaneously, you are a participating member of our team.
Tyler Jorgenson 20:35
I really like that’s cool. And I’ll tell you, you know, I’ve seen a lot of apparel companies launch since 2009. And a lot more since 2013. And I’ll tell you, I think that those simple but unique thing that you guys have set by having a clear mission and vision and values and culture is one of the biggest things that it sets you guys apart. Because a lot of these other guys like look we all businesses are designed to make money you should be profiting. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong or are inherently bad with that, right? But that has to be layered. Right? That’s it has to be behind the vision and behind the mission, or it’s too easy to have a bad month and just give up right now or, you know, hit a hit the first obstacle. You know, as you guys are scaling, you guys are a lot bigger than I think you even have retail locations and stuff, right. As you’re hitting this level, what kind of challenges are you facing now that you didn’t have to face in the early days?
Tim Jensen 21:26
I would say the, you know, the biggest challenge we, that we come across, it’s not market finding new market segments. It’s not new finding locations. It has nothing to do with any of that. I would say, you know, it’s comes back to the thing that runs every business, great people, right. As we continue to grow and we reach for higher revenue targets. It’s that professionalism. It’s the having those professional leaders that have the experience that to navigate those areas that we’ve that we’ve never experienced before, right. You know, Dan and myself We’d have no experience running 100 million dollar parade and we get about it like you say eight years ago, I owned an art studio in Chicago, and I was doing comic books. And now and now I’m the Chief Strategy Officer of one of the largest veteran apparel brands in the country, I never would have imagined that I wake up every day with blessings that I have this opportunity to bring this idea, this vision that Daniel came up with 11 years ago, and bring it to people every day in new and unique ways. Like it just blows my mind.
Tyler Jorgenson 22:35
Yeah, I’m like, Yeah, it’s pretty cool to see, you know, what you guys have built and how and how you’ve gotten there. And it wasn’t like you guys started with a bunch of like, okay, we’re gonna take a bunch of people that are seasoned in apparel, right, you got a comic guy, and, you know, a bunch of vets and they just, I think it’s really cool how you guys just a bunch of drugs, figure it out,
Tim Jensen 22:56
right as individuals that you were going to take no for an answer down doors. And, you know, a great example of that deal back in early 2013. If you guys remember, the sequestration happened, we were very young company at the time. And again, we just started building our teams. And we were told that, you know, the nice government had shut down all of the monuments in Washington, DC, and, you know, being a small, fledgling company at that time. We said, No, that is unacceptable. So we rallied, we partnered with some individuals, and we brought 15,000 combat veterans to Washington DC, took down every barrier that you blocked off these memorials in the Washington mall, and carry them all the way to the White House and threw them over the fence into the White House. Right. And then we surrounded the White House and the President gotten to read one flew off, but the next day, all the monuments in the mall are open. So mission accomplished, right? Yeah, I was, you know, we’re getting we were coming. Five people and we just said, That’s unacceptable. We’re not going to stand for that. And just like this situation with MTech, it’s unacceptable. We’re not going to stand for it. And we’re going to bring the power of our brand and in the platform that we’ve created over the last 11 years of, you know, millions upon millions of very enthused very engaged consumers and fans of the brand, and we’re gonna bring the fight and we’re gonna continue to do that, as long as this brand continues to lead the way. Awesome.
Tyler Jorgenson 24:27
Now, I’m a big believer and it sounds like you’ve addressed this a lot already, but that businesses are about allowing you to live the lifestyle you want. Right? So what’s one major item on Tim’s personal bucket list not business that you’re going to accomplish in the next 12 months?
Tim Jensen 24:41
Next 12 months?
personal account that’s a it’s a tough one because I really don’t set goals for
Unknown Speaker 24:52
you if you
Tyler Jorgenson 24:53
didn’t give me It can be go somewhere it can be do something it can be read something doesn’t have to be it doesn’t have to be substantial. Right? But sure. Sure, I
Tim Jensen 25:00
would say in the next 12 months, you know, my 10 year dream is to own about 100 acres, some horses, cattle and some chickens disappear from the world. So I guess my, my 12 month goal would be starting to be getting in position to find that land, because four to three years old. That’s what
Tyler Jorgenson 25:22
Yeah, you got to make happen. Well, that’s cool. All right, everyone. Thank you so much for listening to this interview with Tim Jensen, the Chief Strategy Officer at grunt style, you should check them out at grunt style.com. And all the amazing things they’re doing in there, not only in their brand, but to defend the constitution and to really raise a call to arms to be more prideful and more proud about this great country. So why that Tim, thank you so much. To all of my listeners it is your turn to go out and do something. Thank you for tuning in to business, entrepreneur radio. What you didn’t hear was one more very important question that Tyler asked. each guest if you want to be a fly on the wall when the real secrets are shared, go to biz ninja.com slash VIP and get your access today. Remember to subscribe so that you don’t miss any future episodes. And our one last favor if this episode was meaningful to you, please share this podcast with a fellow entrepreneur so they can grow along with us is ninjas. It’s your turn to go out and do something